The IDF has concluded its, “Firm Hand” exercise, the military said.
Over the past two weeks, IDF soldiers in active and reserve duty, from the general headquarters to the operational units, in all commands, branches and directorates, participated in the exercise. The “Firm Hand” exercise simulated dealing with operational challenges in all operational arenas and in a multitude of arenas simultaneously.
The exercise took place over the course of two weeks. During the first week, the 91st Galilee Division conducted a divisional exercise which consisted of two parts. The first part consisted of training in defense scenarios in large numbers along the Lebanese Front, and in the second part, the division practiced wide-ranging offensive scenarios. Simultaneously, the Israeli Air Force trained in the opening of intense combat, complex aerial defense scenarios that included thousands of interceptions, outlining strategic strikes deep in enemy territory, achieving aerial superiority in the region and extensive striking of thousands of targets using hundreds of aircraft from all arrays.
During the second week, a multidivisional exercise of the 36th Ga’ash Division and the 91st Galilee Division took place. As part of this exercise, a multi-branch battlefield combat exercise was conducted. This included the participation of soldiers from the Infantry, Armored, Combat Engineering and Artillery Corps in cooperation with the IAF, the Intelligence Directorate and the J6 and Cyber Defense Directorate. During this week, the IAF focused on assisting and cooperating in maneuvering and practiced aerial mobilization of forces, supplying logistical means by air and artillery support for the purpose of maneuvering. Throughout the week, the IAF continued to practice extensive strikes in several arenas.
All of the main force operation headquarters in the IDF practiced war plans throughout the exercise.
The Northern Command trained the command and control system through maneuvering efforts, intelligence gathering, multi-branch fire, the home front and the administration, while testing innovative technological means.
The Israeli Navy carried out a combat exercise in a multi-arena format, in which dozens of vessels took part. The emphasis was on offensive and defensive capabilities, the defense of Israel's maritime borders and the maintenance of its sovereignty and the security of the sea lanes.
In the Intelligence Directorate (J2), the effort to collect and produce means of intelligence was practiced and the full circle capabilities of intelligence were challenged in a multi-arena manner, in order to allow maximum effectiveness. In the exercise, hundreds of new real targets were outlined in the combat arenas.
The J6 and Cyber Defense Directorate practiced fighting in the spectrum and cyber dimensions. In the field of cyber defense, attacks simulating relevant cyber threats on IDF networks and assets were practiced.
The Home Front Command practiced operative plans in civilian areas, the effort to maintain functional continuity and save lives on the home front. During the exercise, the feature of distributing life-saving instructions using "Cell Broadcast" technology was tested for the first time.
The Strategic Planning and Cooperation Directorate (J5) practiced the strategic planning of the campaign, the international coordination with foreign militaries.
During the exercise, the Operations Directorate (J3) managed the combat schedule and commanded over the operational processes in the General Staff’s main administrative headquarters as part of improving the operational system and its readiness.
The Central Command and Southern Command practiced a variety of intensive operational scenarios and counterterrorism activities, such as shooting attacks and terrorist infiltration. During the exercise, the Central Command emphasized the efforts to strengthen the security of residents in Judea and Samaria.
Moreover, as part of the cooperation of the IDF Ground Forces Training Center and the U.S. Armed Forces, soldiers from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) participated in the exercise alongside IDF soldiers. A U.S. ARCENT battalion joined forces with the IDF’s 7th Armored Brigade for the first time, and had a significant part in the exercise under the command of the commanding officer of the brigade with IDF soldiers.
Throughout the planning and implementation of the exercise, an examination and study process took place with the goal of improving the IDF’s operational activities and readiness. The process included the participation of commanders of all ranks and headquarters, as well as weekly General Staff study sessions and the establishment of examination teams led by senior commanders. As part of the exercise, two examinations led by the Chief of the General Staff tested the IDF’s capabilities and readiness.